So you have signed up for one of the long distance charity walks out there and you are ready to take on the trail. You have all of the hiking gear, the backpack, the clothing and your maps ready. However, don’t forget one of the most important things – your feet. You can be as motivated and prepared as you can, but if you develop a painful blister halfway through a day of hiking it can ruin your entire experience.
Your feet are very important and you will depend on them to carry you through your long distance hike. Blisters, chaffing and other issues can really stop you in your tracks, so proper foot care is absolutely essential so that you can stay on the trail.
Unless you are a regular long distance walker, your foot care as you prepare for a long distance charity walk should begin months before you leave. By the time you set out on your walk, you will want your shoes to be perfectly broken in and adjusted to your feet. Also, you will want your feet to be tough enough to deal with the rigorous experience of long distance walking.
So, what can you do to take care of your feet when you are on a long distance walk? Here are some tips that you should keep in mind:
Long Distance Walk Foot Care Tips
- Make sure that you choose the right hiking boots. They should have ankle support which will protect you from twisting an ankle and keep debris and dirt out of your boots.
- Also, a stiff sole will stop you from feeling every pebble and bump in the trail, which will benefit your feet.
- If your boots are too small your toes will ram into the front of the boot when you are going downhill, which will cause your toenails to turn black. Always wiggle your toes when trying on boots at the store to make sure you have enough room.
- Make sure that you buy your boots several weeks or even months before any challenge events and wear them on many long distance walks so that your feet can get used to walking in them.
- To break in your boots, wear them with the shoes you will be walking in around the house at first, then start with short day hikes and increase the distance.
- Don’t try to find hiking boots online, you will need to actually try them on to get the right fit.
- Staying hydrated on the walk will help your overall health and comfort, but it will also help to prevent your skin from chafing. When you are dehydrated salt crystals form on your body which will increase friction.
- Choose hiking boots that breathe well. Booths with some mesh or fabric combined with leather will be more comfortable than a completely solid leather shoe.
- If you have specific places on your feet that are prone to blisters, you might want to apply blister patches or plasters before you start on your walk. They can help to prevent the blisters from even forming.
- You can use talcum powder or cornstarch within your shoes to help them to stay dry.
- The socks you wear are also very important. They should be wool with a moisture wicking synthetic liner.
- If you are walking through wet terrain or if you think it might rain you will want to bring along fabric “gators” which will wrap around your boot and leg and keep the gap at the top of your boot closed.
- If your feet tend to sweat, you should take your boots and socks off during the rest breaks and elevate your feet. You might even want to bring along an extra pair of socks so that you can change them when you take a break. If your feet are wet and sweaty this will increase friction which will cause blisters.
- Pay close attention to your feet and how they feel. If you start to feel a blister develop – treat it before it starts.
- A good quality insole can be your best friend when it comes to your hiking boots. It will cushion the heel of your foot and prevent cruising and compacting of the heel.
These are just a few very important tips to keep in mind when it comes to caring for your feet on a long distance charity walk.